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Butter Carvings, Cotton Candy, and DNA Samples?

Not only can you watch a butter sculptor at the Minnesota State Fair, the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog reports that you can give samples of your kid's DNA to the University of Minnesota's Gopher Kids project. The goal of the effort is to determine what genes are involved in the normal development of a child. In addition, the researchers are looking into whether being at the state fair is a good way to find and keep in touch with study participants. The Health Blog notes this is only the latest in a series of "unconventional outlet for collecting DNA samples," referring to the University of California, Berkeley, testing effort. The Center for Genetics and Society's Marcy Darnovsky tells the Health Blog that potential study participants should ask about who will have access to the data, how participants' anonymity will be protected, and how it will be analyzed and for what purpose.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.